By Thandiwe Kubere

MASERU – Google Developers Group Maseru held a Google I/O event which invited experts from different technology fields to educate as well as to equip Lesotho’s aspiring programmers and developers with relevant skills and appropriate channels for their tech-endeavors.

Google I/O is an annual developer conference held by Google, which covers a wide range of topics related to software, hardware, and various technology upgrades. Here students from different higher learning institutions as well as those in high school with an interest of pursuing careers in the technology field, aspiring programmers and developers get a chance of physically interacting with renowned experts from around the globe. This further gave light to valuable insights, practical tips, and networking opportunities, therefore, fostering collaboration and knowledge exchange among developers.

The Task Manager of Google Developer Sodiq Akinjibi highlighted the importance of google and the conference as that over thousands of people worldwide use it as a search engine every day. He further pointed out that it therefore saw the need to keep advancing so as to reliably give information and provide solutions to its users’ problems, which is why it was essential to equip upcoming programmers and developers as well as to update them on the available channels for them to use. Google sought to show its developers and customers that it could pair artificial intelligence technology with its existing products and services to offer an unrivaled user experience.

In an experimental version of Google’s search engine, the company showed a generative AI panel located above the usual results page. This now gives information at a glance in plain language, simplifying the search experience. But beyond a traditional language model, Google Search Labs can show the sources by which it got the information shown and it allows users to fact-check or do further research on the topic.

In the last few years of this decade, the world has seen a lot of app startups emerging from all across the globe with the rise in technology and the availability of smartphones. The app market was also explained to have grown in the last few years. Therefore, The Lead Organizer of the event, ‘Maneo Mapharisa enlightened that the purpose of the event was to give local developers and tech enthusiasts an opportunity to learn, network, and explore the latest advancements in the tech world as shared by Google. There were three Google Experts who educated more about Flutter, Firebase and Web technologies. They shared their experience in the field through various presentations and indicated how the technology world had evolved, further giving light to new essential tools available on the block. 

Google expert Edwin Maye described Flutter as a Google’s UI toolkit which enables one to create natively compiled applications for mobile, web, and desktop from a single codebase. Firebase on the other hand is a comprehensive platform which offers tools for building and scaling apps, with features like real-time databases, authentication, cloud functions, and more. The emphasis on these technologies suggested that the event aimed to provide participants with insights into the latest advancements and best practices in app development, user interface design, and web technologies.

The app development market was also explained to have been on a rise and allowed countless number of app developers to exhibit their skills and find suitable jobs. With this shift into apps, much development and research has been done to deliver the best and to speed up the app development process and make life simpler. Maye therefore encouraged the youth and young programmers to keep learning and strive for the best because there are good careers in the field.

The youth were also brought to light that Generative AI could now help in creating content or structure documents with just a few prompts. As an example, Google showcased how it could write a detailed email and create a spreadsheet when prompted.

Tensor flow User Group Lesotho Lead Organizer and Women Tec makers Ambassador, Thabang Ponyane emphasized she was really grateful for the conference because it served as a great space for learning and gave her an opportunity to physically meet and gain more from people she had been looking up to and learning from their online programs for the past years. She therefore urged the youth to take into serious consideration and keep to heart what they learned as this would help them be more progressive in the long run. She further gave a motivation that if she learned a lot and could be a developer at a young age, so could be all of them who aspire to be.

Overall, the Google I/O showcased a dynamic platform for learning, sharing, and discussing cutting-edge technologies which ultimately contributes in the growth of the tech ecosystem in Lesotho.